DairyNZ acting chair Barry Harris said last season saw dairy export earnings reach $13.4 billion, which is on par with the five-year average, and illustrates how well farmers have responded to the low milk prices of previous seasons.
“I see the decade ahead of us to be transformational for our sector. Never before have we had a stronger mandate for the dairy sector to concentrate on productivity – to produce more from less, and to do so sustainably,” says Barry.
“We support initiatives that incentivise farmers to use the best environmental practices. While the 2010s have been about dairy positioning itself for the changes ahead, I see the 2020s as heavily focused on making those changes.
“New Zealand’s environmental reputation, the reputation that gives us an advantage on the global market, relies on us upholding and improving our sustainability.”
At today’s meeting, two positions on the DairyNZ Board of Directors were also announced – with farmer-elected candidates Colin Glass (Canterbury) and Jim Van Der Poel (Waikato) voted in as directors.
Both Peter Schuyt and Barry Harris were also reappointed as board-appointed directors.
Results of several AGM resolutions were also announced, including new director terms of three years, rather than four years. This will result in annual director elections and provide greater opportunity for fresh leadership on DairyNZ’s Board of Directors.
Mr Harris said DairyNZ investment for the 2017/18 season sees $18.5m going into research and development, $16.1m on biosecurity and product integrity, and $13.7m on farm profit.
“These are our key investment areas, making up 65 cents in every levy dollar. This will enable the continuation of key research into dairy cow fertility and forage improvement, along with greater emphasis on cost control and high-performing feed management systems.”
DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said in 2016/17 national cow numbers fell to 4.86 million from 5 million previously, with the average herd size dropping five cows to 414.
“Yet production per cow set a new record – increasing by 9kg per cow (381kg MS/cow).”
The Bay of Plenty’s 901 herds accounted for 6.6 percent of New Zealand’s milk production in 2016/17, producing 118.2 million kg MS.
This production was down 4.4 percent due to slightly lower stocking rates and herd numbers last season, combined with difficult spring and autumn conditions.
“Rotorua will provide an interesting case study in years to come, because historically there has been a significant variation in profitability. I expect as we become better at increasing productivity on-farm these profitability variations will level out,” says Tim.
Milk production was worth $765 million to the Bay of Plenty in 2016/17.
To read more about DairyNZ’s annual highlights, visit www.dairynz.co.nz/annualreport.
DairyNZ senior external engagement and communications manager